Oh, the things that have come out of my mouth.

When my daughter Al was little, I debated writing a book that listed in an inspirational quote book style things that I found myself saying that sounded absolutely ridiculous.  Anyone that finds themselves around small children understands exactly what I’m talking about.  An autopilot of sorts kicks in and you find yourself answering question that are hilarious and out of left field as seriously and non-chalantly as you would give the time to a friendly stranger.

Q: Do caterpillers have eyebrows?
A: I don’t think they do.

Q:  Why do I have to wear both socks?
A: Because otherwise you are uneven.

Q: What color is blue?
A: Blue.

At first, my daughter would always accept these answers without much question, but as she grew older the questions came one right after another giving them the feel of an actual discussion.  Once you get into the rhythm of this, you find yourself having full-on conversations without realizing how illogical they truly are.  One time I remember vividly was when she was about four.  We were in Florida and she had spotted a lizard on the wall.  The “discussion” went something like this…

Al:  Momma, what’s that?
Me: It’s a lizard.
Al: Does he have hands?
Me: Yes, but they are just like his feet.
Al: Is he on a wall?
Me: Yes, don’t you see him on the wall?
Al: Yes, but isn’t he brown?
Me: Yes, he looks brown.
Al: Why?
Me: Because some lizards are brown.
Al: No, why is he a lizard?
Me: Because he was born that way.
Al: (laughing) That’s funny.

Now… keep in mind that it wasn’t until she ran off laughing that I started questioning this conversation and more importantly why it was funny.  At the time, this was the sort of conversation I was completely used to having with her.  I should have appreciated them as soon I would begin the long phase of “things I never thought I would say.”

They usually starts small. First you realize that you have begun saying things exactly like your parents said… things you always hated growing up that you promised yourself you would never say when you had kids.

“Because I said so!”
“Do you need me to give you something to cry about?”
“Look at me when I’m talking to you.”

Suddenly they make complete sense.  These same phases progress into gentle reprimands that need to be said at the time, but that you never, ever in a million years thought they would be needed.  Things that pour out of your mouth and sound so ridiculous that they resonate in your mind.  Things that make you take pause and question which one of you is the crazy one.

“Keep the Silly Putty out of your hair.”
“Stop climbing on the refrigerator.”
“We are having company; do not color your toes purple.”

I am glad to say that this has tapered off over the last year or so.  Silly reprimands have turned into corrections about attitude and following the rules.  My girl is growing up, and with that, she is starting to understand what common sense is…sometimes.  She is also learning social skills and will interject things into a conversation that she is having with her friends – or with my friends – that may not have any relevance whatsoever.

The other day in the car, Ken and his son, Alex and I were having a conversation about the current road construction when she proudly added that Michael Jackson had died.  Thank you.  The best is when she attempts to begin a conversation.  She is truly from the planet of Random Thoughts.  Recent conversation starters have included an announcement of “I like pie!” and a general poll of “raise your hand if you’ve ever seen cabbage.”

My favorite attempt of a conversation happened about a month ago.  Ken, Alex and I were in the kitchen gabbing and making breakfast.  Al walked into the kitchen to join us and noticed that the talking had died down a little.  In an attempt to get it started back up again, she politely posed the question…”Alex, how many toes do you have?”  Seriously.  I thought we were done with questions like that.  The sad thing is while everyone else stood there a little stunned, I just non-chalantly answered it…then I laughed.

Aside from the many wonderful moments of humor this has provided, I find another upside.  Since she was born I have dreaded having to have “adult” talks with her. Having to explain “the birds and the bees” and talking to her about certain life things while pretending to be mature and not uncomfortable.  Let me tell you; I’ve been prepared.  I have found that answering any question about body changes, boys or feminine products are cake as compared to some of the inventive answers I’ve come up with in the past.

And to the millions of questions I will face in the future and the millions of things I will hear myself say that I have never said before, I say “bring it on…  and do not color your toes green either.”

Take Your Daughter to Work Day

Ally at workMy daughter absolutely LOVES to come to work with me.  I have no idea why, but she looks forward to it.  I don’t like to make a habit of it because when she is at work, I get very little work done as my time is spent making her occupied and answering four thousand questions, but every once and a while I give into her and let her tag along.  Recently, we had a mailer that needed to get out the door so I thought it would be a good idea to enlist her help as at the ripe age of 10 years old she is an expert at letter folding and envelope stuffing and licking – just ask her, she’ll tell you.  It had been a while since I had had her here with me, and she actually did wonderfully – she let me work and concentrated on her task.  I actually thought that maybe she had matured enough that I might be able to bring her with me more… that she can now entertain herself and work on her own things… that she can be here and let me work without interruption. 

Then I brought her back with me a couple of weeks ago.  The day started out with her calling me every two minutes on the intercom system (I’m so glad she figured that out) and asking me what I was doing.  Sigh.  Finally, I called her into my office for a meeting. I sat her down and explained to her that she is going to have to entertain herself… that I have work to do… and that I know she can do it because last time she didn’t interrupt me at all.  Then I told her that was her official task – to spend the rest of her time here occupying herself.  She told me okay and scampered off to play in the office next door.  I figured this would last for all of 15 minutes, but no, she did her own thing for the next couple of hours she was with me.   She picked up her mess when it was time to go, and everything looked great.  I was pleasantly surprised.

And then I was a whole lot surprised.  I came in the next day and started noticing evidence of her being here that I hadn’t noticed when we left.  Usually, I find one or two things she forgot to put away which is pretty normal, but this was pretty impressive. 

  • I had a total of three pairs of scissors in my office – two in my pencil cup on my desk and one in my desk drawer.  They are gone.
  • I keep a bunch of little plastic hockey figures on top of a bookshelf.  She not only rearranged them, she placed them all into less than attractive positions.  I need to find out what she’s been watching. 
  • She had found and moved two angel figurines on top of my filing cabinet.  They appear to be in a parade… one of them is on an eraser float.
  • I located several of my writing instruments inserted into my plant.  One of them is actually a pen that looks like a tulip so I can kind of understand that one, but the rest baffle me.
  • On the same plant, there are rolled up pieces of scotch tape on each of the leaves.  This one is my favorite as for the life of me I can’t begin to figure out the thought process here.

Later on in the week I found a letter addressed to me in her hand writing.  I was hoping that it might explain in some way what she was doing.  It reads.  “Dear Mom, We had an expection and we parsed oh were having a carnaval to with candy, food, games and Rides. Love Ally”  Yep – I think that clears it up.  If anyone sees my scissors, please let me know.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

mr-clean-magic-eraserMr. Clean, Mr. Clean…sorry… it’s in my head now… that nice little jingle they have.  Not that I have any qualifications at all to do a product review aside from being a neat freak and the mother of a messy child, but I have to share this. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – this thing works… well.  It will get scum, scuffs, fingerprints, stuck on dirt off of just about any surface.  I have actually stripped my floor with one.  It works wonders with a flat top stove.  It’s great to get the dark discoloration off of door frames and refrigerator door handles. It doesn’t have an odor that will stick around on your hands, it doesn’t leave any residue behind, and it doesn’t require a lot of pressure or strength to use it.  I would go so far as to say it should be in everyone’s arsenal of necessary cleaning items.